Children and Adults with Attention-Deficient/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

What They Aren't Telling You

In 2002, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave $750,000 to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) group, to act as a national resource center on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD). Meanwhile, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have severely criticized CHADD's financial ties to the manufacturers of ADHD drugs heavily promoted by CHADD.

More than half of the drugs promoted and validated on the CHADD website are manufactured by companies that fund CHADD. CHADD also opposes any legislation that would prevent parents from being coerced into placing their child on such potentially dangerous drugs. Indeed, it attacks parents who grieve the death of their children by psychiatric drug treatment—or parents who have been terrorized with charges of medical neglect for choosing not to drug their child. CHADD makes a mockery of their pain, labeling them "isolated" cases whereas the truth is hundreds of parents have complained about such abuse.

Parents accuse CHADD of using taxpayers' money to provide biased information, thereby denying parents access to truly "informed consent" from a government-funded "resource center."

While CHADD accuses its critics of "tossing around untruths and inaccuracies," "misinformation" and "junk science," a close study of its website reveals CHADD to be guilty of that which it accuses others of.

While freedom of speech is a constitutional right, the support of government funds means the information must be accurate and unbiased.

Consider the following:

  • In 1987, members of the American Psychiatric Association voted ADHD to be a mental disorder for inclusion in its Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The same year, CHADD was formed.

  • Within a year, 500,000 American children were said to suffer from this "disorder." After a financial boost from pharmaceutical interests, the number of CHADD chapters exploded from 29 to 500.

  • In 1992, CHADD received $50,000 from pharmaceutical interests. By 1994, this had reached $400,000 and by 2001, $700,000.

  • Elliot S. Valenstein, Ph.D, author of Blaming the Brain, says such funding "enables the groups to increase newspaper and magazine advertising and the information they distribute by other means. Typically, patient advocacy material has a pro-drug bias, encouraging people to seek medication often by exaggerating the effectiveness of drugs and the scientific foundation on which they rest."

  • In 1995, the INCB expressed concern about non-governmental organizations and parental associations in the U.S. actively lobbying for the medical use of Ritalin for children with ADHD. It said that financial transfers from a pharmaceutical company with the purpose to promote sales of an internationally controlled substance could be identified as hidden advertisement and in contradiction of the provisions of the 1971 Psychotropic Drugs Convention.

  • In 1995, the DEA issued a Methylphenidate (Ritalin) background paper, stating: "The DEA has concerns that the depth of the financial relationship with the manufacturer was not well known to the public, including CHADD members, that have relied upon CHADD for guidance as it pertains to the diagnosis and treatment of their children."

Misleading Parents and Children and its Members:

  • On September 26, 2002, the CEO of CHADD, E. Clarke Ross, testified before Congress that the group's financial relationship to ADHD drug manufacturers is "on our website. It's in our IRS returns." This information is not obvious on the "National Resource" website; it is in CHADD's annual report. Unless someone knew where to look, it would not be easily found.

  • CHADD claims that ADHD is a "neurobiological" disorder, despite the fact that there is no science-based evidence to support this. CHADD's website fails to inform people of the considerable difference in medical opinion regarding the validity of ADHD.

  • Pediatric neurologist, Fred Baughman, who has discovered real physical diseases, says that by claiming ADHD is a "disease" or "neurobiological" it makes it so "real and terrible that the parent who dares not to believe in it, or allow its treatment, is likely to be deemed negligent, and no longer deserving of custody of their child." He adds, "This is a perversion of science and medicine and is a lie."

  • Dr. Valenstein says that patients "may be encouraged when they are told that the prescribed drugs will do for them just what insulin does for a diabetic, but the analogy is certainly not justified. What is much clearer, however, is that there are a number of groups that benefit from promoting the analogy."

  • CHADD defers to the 1999 Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health when citing ADHD as a neurobiological disorder, yet the Surgeon General's report, the DSM-IV, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guideline for ADHD, do not confirm or state that ADHD is a "neurobiological" disorder. In fact, the Surgeon General provided no conclusive evidence to support this theory—a fact CHADD neglects to mention on its website.

  • When pressed recently by Insight Magazine on the scientific validity of ADHD, E. Clarke Ross finally responded, "It really is a matter of belief."

  • The DEA warned that most of the material prepared for public consumption by groups like CHADD does not address the potential or actual abuse or Ritalin. It is portrayed as a benign, mild substance that's not associated with abuse or any serious side effects. In fact, Ritalin and several other ADHD drugs are Schedule II drugs in the same category as cocaine and morphine.

  • In a token gesture to balanced coverage, CHADD devotes about four pages to negating alternative interventions, while using 10 pages to espouse the virtues of psychotropic drugs. The known and documented side effects of these drugs are downplayed as "mild and typically short-term," contradicting medical and scientific reports showing serious side effects, including death.

  • Under the Frequently Asked Questions section of CHADD's website, alternatives are referred to as "controversial interventions." It states that "many people turn to treatments which claim to be useful, but which have not been shown to be truly effective in accord with standards held by the scientific community." Here again CHADD does what it accuses others of, using "a tactic designed to startle and scare the American public," and one motivated by pharmaceutical vested interests.

  • To counter its critics, CHADD forwards the views of at least one convicted felon with a bent for kidnapping and who happens to also support psychotropic drug treatment of children. His long history of criminality includes convictions for breaking and entering, conspiracy, theft, the use of stolen credit cards, and threatening to detonate a bomb in a jewelry shop unless $100,000 in jewels was handed to him. According to one psychiatric report, this criminal "does not seem to profit from his past experiences and…does not realize he has a responsibility to society to control his behavior." Such is the caliber of opinion that CHADD promotes on its government- and pharmaceutical-funded website in its efforts to silence alternative views about treatment and care of children said to have ADHD.

IN SUMMARY:

No one can deny that many children today are faced with very real problems, including controlling their behavior, focusing and learning. But to propagandize that this is a brain disease over which a child has no control, for which the government must provide unlimited funds to "treat" through our schools, is fabrication and deceit. There is considerable information that can be provided to both parents and CHADD members that CHADD deliberately chooses not to provide, pushing instead a drug and behavioral approach. This does not constitute informed consent, is therefore discriminatory, a violation of the trust implicit in federal funding, and a failure in their accountability to the government and the American people.